Get The FAA To Change A Regulation – Good Luck With That!
- Dan Boedigheimer
Rick Miller walked into the loosely organized university flight school fresh out of the Air Force just hired as the new Chief Flight Instructor. We had 30 young flight instructors going in 31 different directions. Rick spoke of creating SOPs, Edward Deming's Total Quality Management points, and was an early adopter of technology proven by his ability to make 14 calculations per minute on his wrist watch calculator.
We were able to scare away the last few Chief Flight Instructor new hires with a quick glimpse of the jungle and animals that lived within. We had our social order well established and we were not ready for an outsider to change up the order of the pack.
What perused in the years to come under Rick's leadership was not the devastation we expected, but the turn-around of an aviation program setting the foundation of continuous improvement and a level of safety never seen in the past. Fast forward 25 years and Rick is in his second job out of the Air Force and well-established as a Chief Pilot for a corporate flight department in the northeast.
At the Bombardier Safety Standdown, Rick is presenting in the Safety, Education, Experience Talks workshop. The theme for Safety Standdown this year is the Normalization of Excellence. Back when Rick arrived at the flight school, he did not speak in Tony Kern language telling us to Normalize Excellence, but somewhere in Edward Deming's 14 Points I am sure the definition of the Normalization of Excellence exists.
Rick is a by the book type of guy, seeking and destroying the normalization of deviance. His focus for the last few years is compliance with the supplemental oxygen regulations. Rick is the Chairman of the NBAA High Altitude Supplemental Working Group (HASO). The HASO working group is a collaboration of business aviation professionals with an interest in addressing the challenges of complying with FAR 91.211. Specifically, the focus of this group is on hazards induced by the regulation while operating aircraft above an altitude of 41,000 feet. Rick is championing the effort to get the oxygen regulation changed for the industry. He has engaged a large team of experts for a long-term effort to work through the regulatory change process.
Rick is going to share how to be a neanderthal when wanting to champion changing an FAA regulation. We hope you can join us at the Bombardier Safety Standdown to hear Rick tell the story of how one Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation award winner has normalized excellence. If you can't join us at the workshop, check out the HASO working group website.